Burak Yilmaz produced another attacking masterclass as Lille retained top spot on the Ligue 1 table with a 3-0 win over RC Lens.

LOSC Lille remained on top of the Ligue 1 league table with a vital 3-0 win over RC Lens on Friday. The result helps them extend their lead over Paris Saint-Germain to four points, with the defending champions facing a stern test against Stade Rennais on Sunday.

Lille had the best possible start to the game, as an early foray into the Lens box led to a penalty, conceded by Seko Fofana. Burak Yilmaz made no mistake in converting the resulting spot-kick, thereby giving his side a crucial lead in the fourth minute of the game.

As the game progressed, Les Dogues received another boost as Clement Michelin picked up a second yellow, reducing Lens to ten men. It made the job easier for Lille, although it was a long-range strike from Yilmaz that led to their second goal, just before half-time.

And finally, Jonathan David added the gloss to the scoreline, capitalising on a mistake from Jean-Louis Leca to score the third around the hour mark. It was enough to seal all three points for his side and here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Lille players following this vital win over Lens this Friday.

Mike Maignan: 7/10

Mike Maignan looked very secure and determined in between the Lille goal. Although he was not dealt with any real threat, the Frenchman was extremely composed in his claims and punches, particularly from set pieces. He was also alert in saving a few Lens’s efforts on goal, particularly the ones from Ignatius Ganago as he retains yet another clean sheet.

Zeki Celik: 6.5/10

Zeki Celik was not able to do much on the right side of the Lille defence, but he deserves a lot of credit for remaining solid defensively. He dealt well with the pressure, aside from some awkward moments up against Fofana and Gael Kakuta. Offensively, the full-back made overlapping runs as well, though it did not really make a lot of impact on the proceedings.

Jose Fonte: 7.5/10

Jose Fonte was once again influential as LOSC Lille keep yet another clean sheet. What he lacked in pace, up against Ganago and Kakuta, he more than made up for it with his experience and ability to sense danger. As such, the veteran centre-back made a host of interceptions throughout the game, marshalling the Lille backline with elan.

Sven Botman: 6.5/10

It was perhaps not the most clinical performance from Sven Botman, who did find problems in dealing with Ganago. While the youngster was usually very strong defensively, using his imposing presence to good effect, he certainly needs to appear more solid and intimidating in Lille’s final two league games.

Reinildo: 6.5/10

Reinildo also had a rather quiet game for Lille, as Lens’ forays down the flanks restricted his offensive movements. It even forced him to defend for the most part of the game, leading to a lack of support in the final third. The full-back was quite decent, however, helping out his defensive teammates, helping them contain the pressure of the opposition.

Luiz Araujo: 6/10

Luiz Araujo showed glimpses of his technique at certain points of the game, using his dynamism to good effect. Mostly, though, the attacker looked restrained, perhaps due to the fact that Lens did pretty well to keep the opposition defensively occupied. They also marked Araujo very tightly, preventing him from making a bigger impact on the proceedings.

Xeka: 7/10

Filling in for the suspended Benjamin Andre, Xeka looked up to the task against Lens. He was very motivated and did well to showcase his technical abilities to influence the game, especially in regards to his forward passes. The midfielder was defensively strong as well, offering more solidity to Lille’s second line of press.

Boubakary Soumare: 8/10

With Andre out, the onus was on Boubakary Soumare to spearhead the Lille midfield. The youngster did not disappoint either, looking extremely matured in a more defensive role that saw him recycle the ball on multiple occasions.

His physical prowess also made it difficult for the opposition to control the midfield, while Soumare also impressed the onlookers with his forward balls as well as the general partnership between him and Xeka.

Jonathan Bamba: 7/10

Jonathan Bamba was the creator-in-chief for a Lille that were largely restricted going forward. Fortunately for them, Bamba stepped up brilliantly, winning an early penalty while also showcasing good involvement in the game. The attacker may have done a better job in regards to his decision making in the final third, but his contribution was crucial in keeping Lens occupied.

Jonathan David: 7/10

Jonathan David may not have had much freedom on the ball, due to Lens’ excellent marking scheme, he made quite an impression with his determination and work ethic.

Indeed, the Canadian international worked very hard in the first line of press, putting pressure on the opposing ball carriers. His ability to find spaces for his teammates was also useful going forward. David also deserves credit for capitalising on Leca’s error to find the third goal for Lille.

Burak Yilmaz: 9/10

It was pretty much a one-man show for Lille and their main protagonist was Yilmaz. The veteran striker looked inspiring right from the beginning, playing a key role in the attacking moment that led to the penalty. He used his experience and composure to coolly convert the very important spot-kick and give his side an early opener before an unstoppable long range effort led to the second.

Aside from the goals, Yilmaz led the Lille line with aplomb, using his physicality to best the Lens defenders during aerial or ground duels. His hold-up play was also critical in helping his teammates find cues going forward. An absolute attacking masterclass from the Turkish international.


Jonathan Ikone: 6.5/10

Jonathan Ikone replaced the largely ineffective Araujo midway through the second half. He made a noticeable impact, creating one late opportunity for Timothy Weah.

Timothy Weah: 6/10

Missed a scoring opportunity that would have added more gloss to the scoreline. The American certainly needs to work on his end product, if he is to establish himself as a solid backup for Yilmaz.

Yusuf Yazici: N/A

A late replacement for Yilmaz. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Jeremy Pied: N/A

A late replacement for Celik. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Damagoj Bradaric: N/A

A late replacement for Xeka. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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